Leighton Buzzard woman who was verbally abused whilst in scooter issues plea for kindness

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A Leighton Buzzard woman who was verbally abused whilst driving her mobility scooter wishes to raise awareness and break down stigmas surrounding disability.

Deborah Killeen, 58, was reversing her scooter out of the GP surgery in Lake Street on November 30, when an elderly man “came very close” and shouted at her, because he assumed she was able to walk.

Deborah, who has a condition which causes problems with her bone development and joints, now wants people to learn from this experience so it doesn’t happen to others.

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She told the LBO: “I was reversing out of the GP surgery because I had posted a prescription in the wall. I had been waiting for people to go by, but they stopped, and I said thank you very much.

Deborah. The incident happened on November 30 at around 10.30/11am.Deborah. The incident happened on November 30 at around 10.30/11am.
Deborah. The incident happened on November 30 at around 10.30/11am.

“Then this chap came up, and said: ‘You get out! Get out of your scooter!’

“I said, ‘I can’t walk’.

“‘Oh I can’t walk,’ he replied sarcastically, and stormed off.

“I was crying. The day was ruined because I was so upset and angry.

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“But I thought, why should I let this go? People need to hear this.”

Deborah was born with a condition called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita and decided to purchase a scooter around four years ago.

At the time, she would walk aided with crutches, but they were giving her joint pain and putting pressure on her hands. Neither could she carry much when shopping.

Deborah said: “I often get funny looks. I wear make-up, dress nicely, and don’t look bad for my age. ‘What’s she doing in a scooter’: you can hear people think it. I feel like I need to explain myself, but I shouldn’t have to. Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

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Deborah was determined not to let her disability stop her from achieving her goals, and she has travelled all around the world.

She encourages other residents with disabilities to speak out and share their problems, and now she would very much like to meet the man who insulted her, so she can change his perspective.

She said: “People assume if you are in a scooter that you are lazy, but I don’t interpret people’s lives just because they are in one. Be kind and considerate; we’ve been through enough this year.”

Deborah would like to meet the man and tell her story. Contact reporter Jo if you can help. Email: [email protected]

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